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Big jumps in water, sewer rates coming to Cloverdale

By CLARK MASON

THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

Cloverdale residents enjoy the lowest water and sewer rates in Sonoma County, but it won’t last much longer.

City consultants are recommending a 67 percent increase in water rates and 25 percent for wastewater.

The increases, which could go into effect as soon as April, would raise the typical residential combined monthly bill from the current $59 to $91.

The proposed hike was discussed at last week’s City Council meeting, although further public hearings will be held before any increases are adopted.

“A lot of residents showed up very concerned, opposed to the radical increases and questioning the need for the increases,” said Mayor Joe Palla.

Palla noted that it has been more than seven years since the last rate increase.

Meanwhile, other cities have raised their rates.

Healdsburg has the highest monthly water and sewer bill at $137, followed by Santa Rosa at $116, according to the Reed Group consultants.

The second lowest rate in Sonoma County, after Cloverdale, is Windsor at $78.

Consultants said the increases are needed for maintenance and system upgrades. In addition to the steep increase this year, they recommend 5 percent increases every year through July 2016.

“There is a critical need for large water and sewer rate increases to avoid the water and sewer funds from exhausting all funds in (fiscal year) 2013/14,” Public Works Director Craig Scott wrote in his summary to the City Council.

Cloverdale has experienced ongoing problems with its municipal wells along the Russian River.

Peak demand on hot days last year came close to overtaxing the system’s ability to deliver to the city’s 8,629 residents.

The limited production led city officials to ask residents to refrain from outdoor water use every other day.

The city is moving to develop new wells and also to upgrade its pipelines, tanks and distribution system, using state and federal loans and grants.

The various water capital projects total almost $10 million.

A study identified $6.5 million in sewer collection system rehabilitation and improvement projects, but that has been scaled back to $2 million for the next five years.

Palla said none of the improvements is for future growth, but to upgrade old infrastructure and equipment.

He said rates have been the same since July 2005, and probably are overdue for an increase.

“It should have been done sooner. Unfortunately, it wasn’t,” he said, noting that Cloverdale citizens “have been paying a lot less than all the residents in other cities for a long time.”

At a public hearing probably sometime in March, he said, the council “will take information, answer questions and try to figure out the next step.”

You can reach Staff Writer Clark Mason at 521-5214 or clark.mason@pressdemocrat.com.





2 Responses to “Big jumps in water, sewer rates coming to Cloverdale”

  1. James Bennett says:

    Cloverdale isn’t in The Plan.

    Rural Country life isn’t in The Plan.

    That’s why Cloverdale didn’t get a Smart Train destination; it’s outside the “Priority Development Area.”

    This story represents part of the miriad of coersions that will be ramped up to make rural life too cost prohibitive and not accessible (literally). Soon it’ll be post office closures, no school bus service, then no school funding. Well & septic shenanigans, A Vehicle Miles Travelled Tax (VMT) will make it too expensive to commute. If they ram One Bay Area through banks won’t see much future in loaning outside PDAs. It will represent a loss of confidence and speculation in terms of business and real estate.

    Like your country, rural single family home? Your privacy? Your garden? Mountain biking, horse back riding? Building equity working on your property?

    Better learn about One Bay Area/Plan Bay Area and engage yourself and your neighbors. Otherwise your American Dream will include living REALLY close to your neighbors. You can talk about the good ol’ days and what you shoulda-coulda done about.

    Search: Agenda 21 news
    DemocratsAgainstUNAgenda 21
    Look @ One Bay Area on YouTube

    Thumb up 16 Thumb down 2

  2. Dan Drummond Sr says:

    Time to pay the water piper.

    Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

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